Exclusively to The Tennessean, Grammy-nominated and CMA Award-winning artist Jelly Roll talks about his recent success and social media buzz.
24 hours after losing out on winning the Country Music Association’s Best New Artist award, Nashville-born country and rock star Jelly Roll received an even crazier notification:
He was nominated for two awards at the February 4, 2024 Grammy Awards, presented at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
Overwhelmed with emotion and after revealing 90 minutes of crying to The Tennessean, the 39-year-old artist born Jason DeFord made the following statement in an Instagram post prompted by his wife, Bunnie, who believed that “honesty and rawness” allowed him to achieve the success he knows.
It took him seven attempts to record the video.
“The greatest honor an artist can hear is being nominated for a Grammy – and I got to hear it this morning. I haven’t cried like that since my dad died. I love (my fans) so much…a lot,” said the performer nominated for both her Lainey Wilson collaboration “Save Me,” as well as Best New Artist alongside Coco Jones, Gracie Abrams, Fred Again…, Ice Spice, Noah Kahan, Victoria Monét and his compatriots from Nashville. favorites The War and the Treaty.
“It’s unreal. There’s no greater award or honor than the Grammys — being nominated or winning one is the dream of all dreams,” the artist told The Tennessean.
Regarding the success of “Save Me”, Jelly Roll was incredibly proud of the song’s life cycle which included its time before signing a distribution deal with BMG Nashville, including re-releasing the song with recent award winner Lainey CMA Entertainer of the Year. Wilson is now part of what he considers a “broader Nashville moment” in popular culture.
“A song that has now healed and helped millions of people is being acclaimed on the biggest platform possible. Sometimes you do so much work and think people think you’re crazy. It’s like so many people in Nashville in this moment – like The War and Treat, with whom I’m nominated for Best New Artist, we’re represented in greater numbers on bigger platforms. It’s an exciting time for community and celebration (for Nashville in general ).”
Plus, Jelly Roll — after stopping to laugh at how success has altered the trajectory of his career and life over the past two days — reflected on the viral social media moment surrounding his speech acceptance for Best New Artist at the CMA Awards.
With less than a minute remaining in his time to accept the award, the artist raised his voice and exclaimed the following:
“There’s something poetic about a 39-year-old winning New Artist of the Year. I don’t know where you are in your life or what you’re going through, but I want you tell you to keep going, baby. I want to tell you that success is on the other side (of what you’re going through). I want to tell you that everything will be okay. I want to tell you that the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror for a reason — because what’s in front of you is way more important than what’s behind you. Let’s party in Nashville!”
Regarding the speech’s viral moment, Jelly Roll added, “Social media uniting around me while I’m having a moment of critical acclaim is beautiful because it doesn’t always happen that way.”
Pausing again to allow the gravity of the moment to sink in even deeper, Jelly Roll added a final statement.
“I have spent my entire life being a great man but feeling invisible. In the last two days, I have never felt more seen, accepted and respected.”